Etiquette v. Efficiency

Well, I resolved the whole, "I WANT MORE HELP FROM MY BOYFRIEND!" thing. I stopped hinting at wanting help while feeling like a nag, and instead created a list of items I wanted him to take care of.

Initially, being this direct made me feel like a raging, demanding mo-fo. I'm not sure if it's a cultural thing, but asking for help seems rude. (On my end, at least. I still like helping other people.)

But magically, in a matter of three hours, 90% of the stuff I wanted done was done.

Watching my to-do list clear up makes me happy. In my heart.

Secret Tunnels

On one hand, it's incredibly awesome to wake up and find your puppy dog burrowing under the covers to snuggle with you.

On the other, knowing that you could roll over in your sleep and either a) suffocate her or b) startle her into biting you kinda sucks.

But really, burrowing is way cute. Way. Well, after you get over the whole "ZOMG THE BOOGEY MAN IS AFTER MEEEEE ... oh, it's just you," feeling.



I freaking love this time of year, even with the stress.

I love the music, I love the pretty bows-n-paper, I love the lights, I love the ornaments, I love sparkling blue-tinged snow at dusk, I love Scrooged & The Disney Christmas Carol (the one with Mickey Mouse), I love spending time with dear friends and family, I love freakish amounts of food (an artery clogging good time), I love driving around looking at other people's decorations while drinking hot chocolate, I love planning gifts for people ...

It's all kinds of awesome.

I just wish I had more time to really relish each and every moment. I would spend weeks preparing it all, if I could.

A smidge overwhelmed

I really need to find a way to coerce ... er ... trick ... er ... convince my boyfriend to help out with winter holiday stuff. So far, I've hung lights, put up decorations, ordered and wrapped a zillion gifts, designed a Christmas card photo insert and printed out addressed envelopes. He has ... uh ... he definitely looked at the photo insert. After I asked. And he ordered a couple of presents online. Which I'll probably wrap. Oh, and he came with me to grab fun Christmas food at Trader Joes and Costco.

I still need to write in, stuff, stamp, and send the cards. Wrap more gifts. Burn and wrap the annual holiday CD. Organize like the Dickens for our impending two week trip. Etc.

His contributions are all helpful and appreciated, but I can't help but want a little more assistance. I mean, I'm working 5 billion jobs and I feel like my personal to-do list is just growing and growing and growing ...

Mostly I just wish I didn't have to initiate it all. It feels like any failure on my part to make a concerted effort to make Christmas happen will result in my most favorite-est of holiday seasons passing me by. Thank goodness I'm going up to my parents' place, so I can sit back and enjoy other peoples' holiday efforts for a little while.

Of course, no one is making me do extra work for the holidays. I just really, really enjoy getting cards and looking at purdy decorations. I figure I should put some effort into making this time of year nice for other people too.


I'm rubber, you're glue

I don't do well when I'm startled. If someone says something horrible in my presence, I usually have no idea how to react. I get flustered and stay silent. Or act like it's okay.

I'm not sure if Los Angeles is making me an angrier person, but I'm getting better in these situations. Every time something cruddy happens to me, I take note of it. I digest the information, let the incident marinate awhile, and come up with a "what I should have done" plan. This makes me better prepared to handle whatever else comes my way.

Speaking of which ...

My trip to Montana last December went fantastically well. I found purpose in life (weird, seeing as I should have been in a food coma) and had a great time hanging out with my family and friends.

Unfortunately, an obnoxious child kicked my good spirits in the nuts.

Browsing the aisles of some chain store in a sterile mall, a 5 year-old turned to her mother, pointed at me, and said, "That lady is UGLY!"*

First of all, holy self-esteem killer! Second, what kind of mother doesn't apologize when that happens?! Third, GAAAAAAAAH!

I wish I'd said something. I didn't. I stayed silent, not sure that what I thought had happened had *actually* happened.

This year, I am prepared for naughty child antics. My response will be:

"Santa is a lie."

*Unlike the demon-spawn and her family members, I have dark brown hair and light olive skin. They were rather Arian. I assume this was her issue with my appearance. I have just enough self-esteem to know I'm not a hideous beast. I think.


Cheeto burrito

Gratuitous doggy pics:

Birthday/Anniversary Weekend Round Up

Brace for rambling. After that: photos.

My weekend turned out infinitely better than expected (no offense, Mr. Boyfriend-O-Mine).

After a lot of worrying on my part (and nagging about making sure Cheeto and Little One were taken care of), my boyfriend picked me up from work on Friday. The kick-buttiness commenced. First we dropped off Cheeto at her old foster mom's house (she's a celebrity dog trainer, apparently, but gives a nice boarding discount to rescue animals). Next we picked up delish Earl Grey tea bobas and pot roast sammiches from the Urth Caffe (you're probably going to notice an eating theme here, btw). Then Mr. Boyfriend-O-Mine asked me to enter our destination into my phone's navigator application.

Our surprise destination: "Cat's Favorite Beach.*" Nicely done, Mr. Boyfriend-O-Mine.

We left early enough in the day to enjoy the sights on our way up to the Bay Area. Traffic moved along nicely, though we passed two separate cars whose engines had caught on fire. Not just smoking fire, actual flame fire. Scary. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get my camera in time.

That camera comment sounds callous, upon second reading. The people in the cars were fine. For the record.

Anyway, we ate dinner at a favorite burrito place in my old neighborhood in San Francisco, stopped in at a Safeway to grab an It's It (which I hadn't had for over 10 years - just as amazing as I remembered) and arrived at the beach at about 10 that evening. I hopped out of the car to find he'd rented a cabin, complete with a fireplace and kitchen. Awesome.

What made this all extra sweet was the fact that I practically grew up at this beach. My family and I spent weeks upon weeks staying in a family friend's beach house. In other words: my boyfriend not only listened to what I had said about these fond memories - he actually remembered. (He's a keeper.)

Morning one involved a breakfast of biscuits & gravy, potatoes and eggs. AND a mocha with whipped cream. Mmm. Then we went for a long walk on the beach, unfortunately spotted a rotting seal carcass being consumed by turkey vultures (sad!), then got caught up in the tide. We retreated back to the cabin just in time for lunch. Yes, lunch. Breakfast was heavy, but I made a point of not eating all of it. Anyhoo, I indulged in a free-range organic beef burger from my old favorite burger stand, a couple of fries and a half and half soft-serve ice cream cone. Heaven. And yes, all diets are off on birthday weekends. Besides, winter is upon us. I need to prepare to hibernate.

Post lunch, we wandered around the tiny beach town and hit up my old haunts - the charming bookstore whose owner hand picks each and every book (I found a coloring book that I remembered filling in as a kiddo) and a supermarket with a surprising array of organic and other nummy foods. Then we went on a drive past a lagoon (gooorgeous AND there were lots of cute duckies) and ventured into a rather secretive smaller beach community. Also gorgeous with enormous trees and lots and lots of green foliage all around.

Next we drove back into San Francisco, wandered around the Palace of Fine Arts, then hunted for Manchurian beef (not the same as Mongolian. Apparently it's a NorCal thing).

Sunday we had brunch at the same restaurant we ate breakfast in the day before. I think I had soup, but it was overshadowed by a really awesome smoothie and a cute dog inhabiting the doorway of the restaurant. We then took a looooong walk on the beach, showered and primped for socializing, and drove to Vallejo to chill with my super awesome cousin. Post chillin', we wen't out with a few other super awesome cousins (and one's super awesome girlfriend) for Chinese food. Post-Chinese food, we went to a super awesome cousin's house and hung out with their super adorable Corgi/Jack Russel mix. Which reminded me of Cheeto, but I made sure I didn't focus on missing her for too long.

* Cat's favorite beach = this place:

Found at my fav. burrito place:

Japanese tea garden goodness:

These guys reminded me of this. "They see me roll on, my Segway, I know in my heart they think I'm white n' nerdy!" Thanks, Weird Al.

Pretty drive near the ocean:
Palace of Fine Arts:


More Japanese Tea Garden:

It's them!
More Beach:
Cool cousin and cute puplet:
Additional Japanese Tea Garden:


An abomination

I was lamenting the fact that my indulgent, budget splurge-y, organic free-trade coffee wasn't doing anything to wake me up when I realized that I wasted a ton of money on decaf. What's the point of decaf, anyway? Le sigh.


November was awesome

Seriously. Awesome.

  • Got published in an online, peer-reviewed journal for a review of The Sims 3.

  • Submitted an interview that took ages to complete.

  • My first paying game writing gig kicked into gear. (Just quest localization, essentially, but still ... yay!)

  • Spent time working with a great consulting group.

  • Was thrilled to see that the IGDA will be offering health care plans.

  • Speaking of the IGDA, I've been hyper involved with them, in general.

  • Kept on trucking as community manager for the QA Special Interest Group.

  • Been cruising along as a Jr. Editor for Gamersinfo.net.

  • Had my birthday and six-year anniversary with the boyfriend. :)

  • Spent time in a cabin by my favorite beach (good job planning, Mr. Boyfriend Man)!

  • Had a fabulous Thanksgiving where I ate tons of yummy food and spent time with lots of yummy people.

  • Experienced a bunch of wonderful, fantastic, super awesome, long-lasting conversations.